UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Phormium tenax 'Amazing Red'

FORM-ee-um TEN-ax
Common Name
New Zealand Flax 'Amazing Red'
Plant Type
Mature Size
3 ft. wide and tall
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
Flower Color
Red (but grown more for foliage)
  • Hummingbirds
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

'Amazing Red' is reputed to be one of the smaller Phormium cultivars; our plant has grown to about 3 feet high and wide in six years. The sharp texture and brownish-red color of the leaves makes this plant an excellent focal point in the perennial bed.

We have never seen 'Amazing Red' bloom in our garden, but that's OK because Phormium flowers are not particularly attractive in our opinion. Prune out dead leaves, but don't try to reduce size Phormiums by cutting back their leaves. Unlike grasses, Phormium leaves won't grow back and you'll be stuck with stubby unattractive leaves.

Some Phormiums revert to the brownish color of the species after several years. 'Amazing Red' has held its color in our garden for six years and for ten years in some of our Master Gardeners' personal gardens.

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